You are on page 1of 9

Raised Bed

Gardening
Raised bed garden plants are
grown above ground level in a
structured bed. As an alterna-
tive to traditional in-ground
gardening, raised beds provide
unique opportunities for peo-
ple with limited space, physical
disabilities or contaminated
ground soil. While this type of
gardening can be more expen-
sive and require more work to
set up initially, the many bene-
fits make it worthwhile to
many gardeners.

Raised Bed Gardening
FlexibilityRaised bed gar-
dens can be customized to
your unique needs and prefer-
ences. They can be built in
almost any shape, size or local
on and with a variety of materi-
als.
AccessibilityBeds can be
built to any height, allowing
gardeners to work while sitting
or standing, providing more
comfortable gardening and a
great option for persons with
physical disabilities.
SafetyRaised beds provide a
barrier between your growing
space and contaminated soil. If
the safety of your soil is un-
known, soil tests can be done
but can be more costly than
building an above ground gar-
den.
Soil ControlTraditional gar-
dening typically allows for ex-
tra nutrients to be mixed into
the soil several inches deep. In
raised bed gardens soils are
custom mixed to ensure proper
nutrients and texture through-
out the entire bed. This also
allows beds to drain water
more efficiently, preventing
over watering
Efficient Productivity
Compared to gardening in the
ground, raised bed gardens can
require less water and produce
higher yields. The absence of
pathways through the garden
bed reduces water use, allows
for dense planning, and elimi-
nates soil compaction issues.
The dense planning patterns,
means dense plant foliage as
well, reducing water evapora-
tion and keeping plant roots
cooler. Weeds and other pests
have a more difficult time
reaching raised bed gardens.
Beds warm faster than the
ground allowing soil to be
worked sooner.
Opportunities for ArtIn
addition to making beds out of
a variety of materials in any
shape or size, they can also be
decorated, adding creativity to
gardening.
Benefits of Raised Bed Gardening
February 2010
Volume 10, Issue 1
Raised Bed Kits
Kits are available that
include materials and
instructions for building
a raised bed garden.
They can be ordered in
a variety of sizes and
styles. They can be
more expensive than
making your bed by
hand but can also be
easier to build and save
time.
Natural Yards
http://
naturalyards.com/
raisedbeds/
Raised Garden Beds
http://www.raised-
garden-beds.com/
PO Box 521033
Salt Lake City, UT
84152-1033
The information below is from:
Alternative Garden Club
Now that you know some of
the benefits and possible draw-
backs of raised bed gardening,
youre ready to start your own.
This section provides a guide
to planning and building a gar-
den that will meet your unique
needs. Gardening of any kind
requires many considerations.
The following are some tips
for creating a successful raised
bed garden. Enjoy!
Location
The following suggestions and
considerations can be used to
determine the most ideal loca-
tion of your raised bed garden.
Dont feel limited by a small
yard or no yard at all. Roofs,
concrete areas, even decks are
all great locations for a garden.
Sketch your site to imagine
possible locations
Include pathway space for
walking and equipment (wheel
barrow, lawn mower, etc.)
Create a list of plants you
want to grow and the amount
of sun they need
Observe sun and shade pat-
terns on your site
Think about north-south bed
orientations for maximum
sunlight exposure
Look for areas that are level
and dry
Bed Design
The size of bed and materials
used to make it really depend
on your unique needs and pref-
erences. The options are as
endless as your imagination!
Functional beds can also be
very creative in design. The
following options are merely
suggestions; dont be afraid to
experiment with size, shape or
materials.
Dimensions
Length - Keep in mind your
available space and room for
pathways around beds. If walk-
ing around a long bed may be
an issue, consider two smaller
beds.
Width - Determine by measur-
ing the length of your arms
reach. Calculate this by sitting
or standing at a table and
reaching toward the center
until you bend slightly (2 feet is
average), double this number
for the total bed width if you
plan to garden from all sides of
the bed.
Depth - Herbs and many flow-
ers need be 8 to 9 inches, vege-
tables, most fruits and shrubs
12 to 18 inches.
Height Choose a height that
will make gardening comfort-
able for you. If you wish to
garden while sitting, estimate
bed height by sitting in a chair,
reaching your arm out and
measuring the heights you can
comfortably reach. The same
test can be done standing.
Planning a Raised Bed Garden Working with treated
lumber is not risk free.
The Environmental Pro-
tection Agency and the
manufacturers of
treated lumber advise
that treated wood
should be used only on
outdoor structures, that
a dust mask should be
worn when cutting it,
that scraps should not
be burned, and that
sawdust and chips
should not be added to
compost.
Although the risks of
using treated lumber to
build a raised bed are
low, there are plenty of
other materials avail-
able for building con-
tainers and raised
beds. Rot-resistant
woods such as redwood
and cedar make excel-
lent raised beds, but
are relatively expen-
sive. Synthetic lumber
made from recycled
plastic is also a good
choice and is available
in most places where
lumber is sold.
The following information will
prepare you to build your
raised bed garden. In addition
to the basic tools needed for
gardening, a variety of materi-
als can be used to build and fill
your bed.
Possible bed materials
Concrete blocks, Plastic lum-
ber. Metal siding, Scavenged
materials, Bricks, Old tires,
Glass, Wood, Stone Straw,
Hay.
Reinforcing your bed
Metal Stakes, Wood Stakes,
Metal Edging, Rope, Mortar
These are just a few options,
be creative and experiment
with different materials. On a
basic level, your bed just needs
to contain the soil, but they can
also add an aesthetic element.
Keep in mind some materials
are processed with chemicals
that could potentially leach into
your garden. Pressurized wood
such as railroad ties is one ex-
ample. If using wood, pay at-
tention to the rot resistance.
Cedar is one good option that
is more resistant to rot. If you
are planning to build with de-
gradable materials, straw is
typically preferable to hay be-
cause it contains less seeds and
thus less potential for weeds.
Plastic lumber is often used to
construct decks and sometimes
patio furniture, making it a
very sturdy option for a garden
bed.
The weight of your soil, expan-
sion and contraction with the
seasons, and the length and
height of the beds are all fac-
tors that can lead to the need
for reinforcement. If using
concrete blocks, bricks or
stone you can mortar for addi-
tional stability. Metal edging
can be wrapped around the
bed to reinforce. Stakes made
of metal or sturdy wood can be
placed around edges (about
half the stake should be under-
ground) or drilled directly
Raised Bed Materials and Tools
through the bed material into
the ground.
Basic Gardening and Building
Tools
Shovel, Garden Spade, Spading
Fork, Tape Measure, Rope,
Hose, Rake, String, Stakes
Soil and Mulch Options
Manure, Peat Moss, Small
Stones, Top Soil, Compost,
Ground Bark, Sawdust, Sand,
Straw
Tools like shovels and rakes
will help move and level soil.
Stakes, string, and tape meas-
ure can be used in the prelimi-
nary stages of building the bed
by creating the outline of a
geometrical shaped bed, a hose
or rope can be used to for a
curved design.
While there are a variety of
opinions on how to make the
perfect soil, a sandy loam soil is
considered the best for most
plants. Some people simply
alternate layers of compost and
soil until the bed is filled. Oth-
ers create 3 equal part mixtures
of organic matter (like peat
moss), compost and sawdust
or ground bark. Another com-
mon recipe calls for equal parts
of top soil, peat moss, and
sand.
Mulch materials can be straw,
bark or small stones to name a
few. Benefits of mulch include
moderating soil temperature,
reducing water evaporation
from soil, preventing erosion,
suppressing weeds and other
pests, while creating a haven
for beneficial organisms that
will help your garden. Some
people also use mulch to make
gardens more aesthetically
pleasing.
Before building the garden
bed, some people smother the
existing grass or weeds with
black plastic for weeks to en-
sure they are dead. Others do
this at the time of construction
as the first construction step.
The bottom of beds can also
be lined with cardboard and
newspaper for the same result.
Raised Bed Materials and Toolscontinued
While many raised
beds are portable, in
some cases youll
want to build large,
permanent raised
beds. Thats why its
important to observe
your yard during a
full day and during
different seasons so
that you can make
note of areas of sun
and shade.




Steps:
1. Gather all materials
2. Create outline of your garden
Use stakes, string and measuring tape for
geometrical shapes or a rope or hose for
curvy designs
3. Build bed and reinforce if necessary
For ensured s oil drainage, beds can be
built on a slight (2%) incline or an initial
layer of small pebbles can be used.
4. Fill bed
First layer should be a ground covering
(cardboard and newspapers or plastic)
Insert soil according to your preference
(alternating materials or inserting one uni-
form mix)
5. Plant
Plant in a zig-zag pattern to maximize
space
Locate taller plants on the north side of
the bed
6. Add a final layer of mulch
Building a Raised Bed
Straw beds provide a novice
gardener the ability to plant a
raised bed garden with inex-
pensive materials and little
experience. With a straw bed
garden, bales of straw are used
as boundaries for the raised
garden bed. Though straw
bales are not intended to be
permanent garden structures,
they provide a great start or
addition to any gardening
space. Lasting only two sea-
sons, the materials to build
straw beds are far less expen-
sive then commonly used
wood frames, and can be com-
posted when they have ex-
pired.
Sustainable
There are numerous benefits to
using straw in a garden. Straw
is a natural byproduct of cereal
plants after the seed or grain is
removed. It is a sustainable,
natural resource providing a
gardener with the opportunity
to reuse a natural material that
can be grown and purchased
locally.
Soil Assistance
Straw can also be composted
easily and it can help remediate
contaminated soils. As the
straw decomposes into the soil
it starts to absorb some toxic
elements. Straw provides better
insulation than materials like
wood and metal.
Straw bed Gardening


"A well planned
garden bathed in
rain and sun.
A faithful laborer
and the harvest
shall come."
...Nancy Simms
Taylor
The number of straw bales
needed for your garden de-
pends upon the size of the
garden. This list of materials is
based upon a garden that is 3.3
feet by 16.5 feet. For step by
step instructions and photos,
please see Lens Garden Page,
a website about sustainable
gardening practices at: http://
www.lensgarden.com.au/
straw_bale_garden.html
Materials
30 bags of compost
Cardboard and paper
17 bales of straw
Seeds
Peat Moss
Top Soil
Steps:
1. Build the Straw bale Bed
Place the bales according to
your design
This particular design is seven
bales long and one bale wide.
2. Create a base layer
Create layer out of newspaper
and cardboard.
Some also layer food scraps
and prunings on top of the
cardboard.
3. Fill with alternating layers of
soil materials (compost, soil,
peat moss, etc) until the bed is
full.
4. Place straw over layered soil
as a mulch.
5. Plant seeds
Create depressions in the
mulch to plant seeds in the
soil.
6. After much care and atten-
tion your garden will grow.
Building a Straw Bed Garden
http://aggie-horti culture.tamu.edu/extension/raisedbed/index.html
http://www.raisedbedgardeningtips.com
http://osuextra.okstate.edu/pdfs/F-6033web.pdf
http://www.gardening-advisor.com/Raised-Garden-Beds.html
http://earthandstraw.com/benefits-of-straw-bale-construction/
http://knol.google.com/k/thomas-andrews/straw-bale-gardening/wi0h3zln6mir/2#
http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/straw-bale-gardening.html
http://www.lensgarden.com.au/straw_bale_garden.html
Resources and Credits
Advantages of raised-bed gardening
Better drainage Growing plants in raised beds is a
logical choice for gardeners with heavy, poorly
drained soils. Raised beds permit plant roots to de-
velop in soil held above water-logged or compacted
zones. This provides a more optimum soil environ-
ment for root growth. As beds are built up, compost
or other forms of organic matter may be incorpo-
rated, further improving soil structure, drainage and
nutrient-holding capacity.
Higher yields Better root growth from improved soils
leads to higher yields for food crops and lusher
growth of ornamental plantings. Also, intensive
planting in raised beds means more plants can be
grown in a smaller area than with conventional row-
cropping techniques. No space is wasted between
rows.
Expanded growing season Better
drainage speeds soil warming and
allows earlier spring planting. In wet
seasons, soil dries out faster, permit-
ting planting to proceed between
rains.
Maintenance Because plants are grow-
ing above the level of walkways, less
stooping is required for weeding, wa-
tering and other chores. Intensively
planted raised beds provide dense
foliage cover, shading out much weed
growth.
Using difficult sites Raised beds make
gardening possible on sites where
growing plants would otherwise be
impossible. Rooftop gardens and
raised beds on top of solid rock are
examples. Terraced raised beds turn
hillsides into productive growing areas
while reducing soil erosion potential.
Alternative Garden Club

2010 Officers and Calendar
President ................................................................. Bruce Spiegel ................................................................. (801)583-3867
President Elect (V.P.) ........................................... Dave Mash ...................................................................... (801)999-9999
Tour Director ........................................................ Available position ............................................................ (xxx)xxx-xxxx
Treasurer ................................................................ Dave Mash ...................................................................... (801)999-9999
Newsletter ............................................................. Don Roylance ................................................................. (801)484-6414
Website ................................................................... Lance VanBueran ........................................................... (801)363-3996
Float Coordinator ................................................. Available position ............................................................ (xxx)xxx-xxxx
Hospitality Coordinators ...................................... Carol Masich and Claire Biltz ....................................... (801)282-6569
Hospitality Coordinator ...................................... Mike Eardley ................................................................... (801)999-9999
Service Project Coordinators ............................... Carol Masich and Claire Biltz ....................................... (801)282-6569
Monthly meetings to be held at 7:30pm in the Sugarhouse Park Garden Center @ 1602 East 2100 South, some meetings may
depart from building for field trip or service project.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
February 2010
3 Monthly meeting Doug Hughes Conifers and
Dean Anesi Pruning. Please bring branches and clippers to use to practice pruning.
Please remember monthly dues this month. $20 per person.
March 2010
3 Monthly meeting Dean Anesi USU Vegetable Gardening
April 2010
7 Potluck
May 2010
5 Monthly meeting Jim McCormack Irrigation
Date? Spring City Home Tour (date to be confirmed and more details later)
June 2010
2 Monthly meeting Russ Pack Topic TBD
Date? Pride Day (date to be confirmed)
Date? Chicken Coop Tour (date to be confirmed and more details later)
July 2010
7 Potluck and Tour at the Red Butte Garden
August 2010
4 Monthly meeting Wayne Padgett Topic TBD
September 2010
1 Monthly meeting Geoff Ellis City Forestry
6 Labor Day Potluck Site 24, City Creek Canyon (Brett and Don)
October 2010
6 Potluck
November 2010
3 Monthly meeting Dean Anesi Center pieces
December 2010
1 Monthly meeting Bruce Spiegel Show and Tell
Date? Christmas Open House Tour and Potluck (date to be confirmed and more de-
tails later)
January 2011
5 Elections